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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC Alumnae Propose Action Items to Address Opportunities and Challenges in Global Noncommunicable Disease Research

Two out of three deaths worldwide are attributable to noncommunicable diseases (NCD). No country is unaffected by this class of illness, which presents an unprecedented global health challenge.

[Photo: Dr. Lindsay Jaacks (left) and Dr. Racquel Kelly Kohler]

Dr. Lindsay Jaacks, alumna of the department of nutrition, and Dr. Racquel Kelly Kohler, alumna of the department of health policy and management, both studied at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. They are co-authors of a recently published editorial that describes four action items to promote the global NCD research agenda.

The article “Global Noncommunicable Disease Research: Opportunities and Challenges” was published online August 25 by Annals of Internal Medicine.

In September 2014, researchers representing 41 institutions – universities, government agencies, private companies, journals and foundations in the United States – met to discuss the challenges of and identify opportunities for moving forward with a global NCD research agenda.

The four action items that emerged from the conference are:

  1. Build bridges between communicable and noncommunicable disease research.
  2. Encourage reciprocal exchanges of health innovations between the U.S. and global health. (The adoption of healthcare innovations from resource-limited settings may reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes in the U.S.)
  3. Better communicate the benefits of global noncommunicable disease research investment.
  4. Support early-career investigators and their mentors.

Opportunities for collaboration on NCD research across international borders and scientific disciplines are increasingly available, coinciding with the globalization of science and an unprecedented interest in global health among U.S. students, clinicians and early-career investigators.

To have an impact, however, global NCD research must coincide with political will to address known NCD risk factors and health disparities.

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